Customer Service Employment Key Terms

Uncover the jargon for a successful job search

Whether you're looking to break into the industry or you're a seasoned veteran of the customer service field, it's important to brush up on your knowledge of the vocabulary associated with customer service employment key terms. There's a wide variety of words to learn, such as temps, call center reps, help desk reps and sales reps. To be successful at one of these jobs you’ll need the right skills and education. You’ll also need to be familiar with the difference between inbound and outbound calls, regardless of the type of job you're looking to obtain. When you’re searching for customer service employment opportunities, keep some essential key terms in mind.


The term agent is commonly used for customer service jobs in the airline industry. This person is usually a highly skilled worker who works full-time assisting customers on the phone and in person.

Call Center

A call center can be a virtual or non-virtual environment. Call center employees make and receive customer service calls. Sometimes, one call center employee can answer calls for numerous companies at a time.

Help desk

Most large corporations, and some small ones, have a help desk. Help desk customer service employees are there to answer questions and assist in solving problems.


A rep, or a customer service representative, is an entry-level customer service position. A rep will make and answer phone calls, and he or she will help customers. Customer service representatives can work in various types of office environments.
United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Inbound call

An inbound call is one that is answered by a customer service employee. The call is often from a customer calling a toll-free number looking for help or information.

Outbound call

An outbound call is the opposite of an inbound call. It is a call that is placed by a customer service employee. These calls are often not-solicited, but they can be as a follow-up to a lead.